Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: Flylady

Housekeeping (or Kon Mari 12 months later)

Think I mentioned last time I plopped ma fingers on the keyboard that I would maybe have a wee chat you youse alls about the houseworkings. Now, I am at best, an ordinary house keeper. I have staff to deal with the basics – the ironing disappears on Monday morning and comes back on Wednesday all smooth and delicious. The dog hair and dust disappears in a similar fashion on a Friday. Crinkle free clothes and a clean house – what more can a lassie desire?

Well.

A lassie might like a gourmet chef to prepare delicious, nutritious and calorie free meals, someone to hunt and gather free range and organic ingredients for aforementioned meals; and someone who will transform the slightly grubby and well-worn clothing into a suitable state for de-crinkling. Yeah. Like that’s ever going to happen. There are also those rotten little jobs that fall outside the bailiwick of the cleaning fairy and the ironing fairy, like cleaning the oven, and murdering the dust bunnies behind the bed, and washing the fucking shower curtain so it doesn’t go mouldy.  Oh, and cleaning the damn coffee machine. Sour milk and coffee smell so attractive. Not. There’s a whole heap of other little jobs that – while you know the earth won’t fall off its axis if they’re not done – make the earth rotate a lot more smoothly when they are.

Hence my dalliance with the Flylady and the KonMari business – I’ve also dallied with a few other ‘cleaning systems’ in the past as well, with similar amounts of (ahem) success. I keep going back to Flylady because she does keep track of those Little Jobs; and I keep breaking up because the twee and mundane and the fucking hell, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Lordy.

Now, I gave KonMari’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a red hot go last year. I looked for joy in all the right places, and I culled and I cleaned and I sorted. Bags and bags of stuff got sent to the op shop and the school fete and to friends with needs for random things that I had but didn’t need. Then I got to a point where I a) didn’t want to spend all my free time tidying up and b) reached a level of ‘clutter’ I can more or less live with. I live with three other people and a hairy little dog, and we all have our own level of mess. Obviously, mess times four is not sustainable (the dog also contributes hair and leaves her toys around the house, so it’s really mess times five), but a girl has to have some light in her life. So, I stopped tidying for a bit to see what would happen.

And this is what happened…

Clothes – well. I have gone back in to all our clothes every few months and culled a bit and culled a bit more and culled a bit too much (oops) to the point where I had to replace a few items with “it will do for now” rather than actual joy sparkers, because public nudity is still not an acceptable thing. On the plus side, some joy sparkers I did keep are now in rotation after the diminishing bosom diminished enough I can do up buttons. There’s nowt like shopping the wardrobe for a wee bargain or ten. BUT, in saying that, the last cull was a wee shopping bag between the four of us, rather than 5-6 garbage bags it was the first time and 3-4 the second time; and to the best of my knowledge, nothing was new with tags. Also, in the past, sorting clothes was a FULL day’s job for the four of us. Now, it took me less than an hour to sort Reg and my wardrobes, and maybe 20 minutes each for the kids. Win.  I have become a more discerning shopper – I know that I do not like certain cuts of t-shirt, I don’t like some fabrics, and I prefer dresses with no defined waist lines. I will go shopping for a precise item of clothing and only buy that item. (And if someone knows where I can replace a pair of butt-ugly walking shorts with pockets, I will be eternally grateful) I’m saving a fortune! Even with the kids clothes, I am buying half what I would have bought them in the year.

Oh, and when I fold the clothes, I can’t help but mutter to myself about Ms Kondo’s folding theory being alright for teeny tiny Japanese lady clothes and underpants for teeny tiny Japanese lady bottoms, while I wrangle the suitable for a six foot plus cuddly Anglo Saxon man’s clothes into submission so they’ll fit into the teeny tiny 1950’s style cupboards we have at ours. Mutter grumble. I did re-jig the folding techniques somewhat to accommodate the relative size differential (in comparison to those tiny Japanese Lady Things) of Man sized (and tall lady sized) items of clothing . Sweet folding spots are over-ridden by the gravitational pull exerted by a XXL hoodie.

Books and paper – I did a massive cull of books last year, and while I’ve had to resort to buying the odd paper book again, I’ve not bought *that* many. I’ve even backed away from the cook books. I have actually exchanged cold hard foldings for e-books as well since my previous source sorta dried up, damnit. And I have always been pretty good at paper – I keep what I have to and cull a year’s worth at a time.

Komono – As far as crap goes, that’s even been kept to an acceptable level. And, again with the discerning shopping… Not buying shit because it’s pretty is a good way to save a load of money and not necessitate an endless cycle of pulling out all the things and putting them all back again to squeeze in the new pretty thing that you are 98% sure you’re going to use once. Oops. There’s a couple of places I need to re-visit, and I still need to get an Old Person to sit down with me and name names in the photo albums, but aside from that – all good. When I look into cupboards, stuff is still more or less where I left it a year ago, if it’s been used, it’s gone back, if it hasn’t been used, it’s still Weird Shit you can’t actually throw out, because it’s all stuff that you’ll need it when you need it and not before, and the effort to procure said weird shit outweighs the minor irritation of keeping it in the damn cupboard.

So, at the end of the day, realistically I am not a minimalist and I never will be. I am never going to end up with bare walls and one artfully placed blossom in a gorgeous vase. While it’s nice to look at, it’s totally not my jam. I like to have nice things around me, and the people I live with also like to have their things out where they can be admired and enjoyed. (And where they can reach them, assuming there’s going to be a shortage of zooper dooper wrappers and chip packets in the future. But that’s mess that can be dealt with by the perpetrator in eleven seconds flat).

My house is tidy enough.

 

 

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Right. Um. Where was I?

Down the back of the couch, obviously. I’ve been busy. No. Seriously, actually busy. For the last month, flat out like a dead lizard  – we’ve been away a couple of times and had a fair bit of Family Time as well, the Hound had to have an operation on her knee after a badly timed ute-jump (she’s not dealing with convalescence well – while it’s nice to see she’s lost none of her ridiculous personality, ninja jumps to the top of our very high bed are Not On, Puppy. Can’t quite manage another $1,600 to re-fix your knee) Had a bit of a technological disaster with the old laptop that (of course) hadn’t been cleaned out yet. Someone clicked something. They will NEVER do that again. Or I will possibly have to revoke interwebs privileges. That took a bit of sorting out, but I’ve now found a lovely computer guy for stuff that’s out of my league. AND the printer died (or didn’t want to talk to the new laptops, one or t’other) – tried living without BUT that was more annoying than I would have thought. Email to work, print, scan, send home, email to destination because private. Argh.

Plus, the kids have been tag teaming lurgies – Chaos’s turn this week. Mayhem was last week. Reg and my good self have been taking it in turns. Today is my turn. Coughing til you spew =/= going to school. Anyway – it’s probably time for a bit of a half time catch up on stuffs seeing as we’re half way through the year (and I owe about four posts that are all stumbling over each other in my brains). Half time it is then…

Firstly, the lard arse. I’m down about five or six kilos, depending on which way the wind is blowing. I’m going to pull my entire hand out of the cookie jar though and stop with the face stuffing, because I suspect that 5-6kg will revert to 3-4 kilos if I continue with the biscuits. I need to find a biscuit that is pleasing without being more-ish. (Chocolate Ripple, Scotch Finger, anything wafer-y, Tic Tocs and 100s and 1000s are all in the more-ish category. Teddy Bears are not so much). I could stop entirely with the biscuits, but there’s something about a cup of pretend tea that calls out for a matching little something something to go along with it. So the singular biscuit stays. Just need to cut out the plurals.

I’m doing excellently with the non-buying of lunches. I buy something maybe once a week (pretty keen on chicken karaage from one of the food court joints. It’s really tasty, and because it’s rice and chicken and salad, I can easily kid myself it’s healthy. It’s fried chicken. It’s probably not.) And I have succumbed to the siren call of the charity chocolates twice in six months – when I was reaching for my third packet of chippies, I was all just have the fucking chocolate. So I did, it was as shit as I remembered and eh, didn’t do it again for another  month (theme? Maybe there is.)

I did discover something related to my exercise (such as it is) and my mood though – if I get my steps in, I am pleasing of demeanour. If I  miss for more than a couple of days in a row, I range from slightly shitty to absolutely incandescent with rage. Small irritations are magnified by all the other small irritations and I end up best described as A Bit Fucking Cross. For three weeks. I can’t remember the last time I sustained a bad mood for three weeks. There were legitimate external influences on my mood, but seriously, my reaction to some of the really small things that happened? Good thing I don’t work with pointy objects.  I was starting to think it was the lady-pause because I am of an age; and I do remember Mrs McGee’s phases of less than impeccable rationality from my yoof. Three days of solidly hitting my step goal and PFFT!  Bad Mood was gone. Correlation co-efficient positive one. Steps up, irritations are irritations. Steps down? I’ll fucking run you through with a javelin or something. If I had a javelin. Which, in and of itself would be a source of further irritation. So, next time I’m that cranky…send me out for a walk well away from the pointy things.

On the topic of walking – Pokemon GO rocks. Also, anything that means I can go for a two and a half hour walk with the kids and no whining or fighting has to be totally awesome in my book. I’m not sure about the gym thing yet, although Mayhem is bursting at the seams to get me into a gym (he’s playing on my account because well, he’s 10. No phone for him). When he earns technology back, I might let him have a go (long story – tl;dr version = three strikes and no tech for two weeks). All those people with their po faces and sneering about the Pokemons can pretty much get stuffed because it’s fun. Just because I now walk the long way in through the front door of work because there’s three extra poke-stops compared to the back door… eh, it’s a couple of hundred more steps for me!

I’ve officially broken up with the Flylady (again), I’m still not tidying up BUT I am still bullet journaling. I had to step back a bit when I got carried away with the decoration and the pretty and best handwriting all the time. Couple of deliberate scrappy do lists and eh, she’ll be right. I stopped tracking goals because well, setting myself up for fail isn’t fun. But as far as keeping things on track, I’m doing pretty well. (The Hound got *all* of her injections on time because written down. Although Reg didn’t like me keeping the dog’s anti-inflammatories next to the kid’s antibiotics. NO idea why.) Tracking spending shit me because I can’t remember and hello, accounting for $3.80 for a coffee every day when I really do have no other vices… So now I am trying to SAVE $100 a month instead. Much more sensible.

My blanket is coming along nicely – it’s too big to be portable now, and I only have a strip and a bit to go (plus the border). The other project is also ticking along. I took it away with me and did two squares in two days. Actually, that’s probably the most legitimate reason I’ve not been writing – the bucket of time I have for writing is the same as the bucket of time I have for crochet, and crochet is winning. Because time is a finite resource subject to change without notice. And that is a topic for another day.

Scatter-gories or where I mix up KonMari Maudy style

Well, I finished reading the second Marie Kondo book, Spark Joy, (six books in seven weeks, yay me!) and I have to say it was a really quick and easy read – You sort of do need to read the first book first, although you can probably get away with just reading this one (I bought the two of them after skimming through this one in a posh little bookshop. The wench behind the counter was giving me the stare of death because I was woman-handling her books, so I put it back and bought it somewhere else. Take that, you pretentious wanker. Try paying the rent with nowt but bad attitude. Muttergrumble, old woman shouts at clouds.)

Anyway, the two books are like a text book and practical manual really – the philosophy is strong with Life Changing Magic and not so much with Spark Joy – as an aside, I read some of the reviews for Spark Joy – um. Did they not actually pick up the book and look at it before they bought it? Ahem. Someone is whinging because it doesn’t go through every single type of thing in their house, like you know, art… Someone else wants to know how to organise her kitchen because she doesn’t like the KM way. The rules are pretty easy to understand – does it make you happy? Yes, keep it. Does it shit you? Chuck it. Simples. Some people seem to want too much from the books, I think. Me, I’m happy with the inspiration to do something at least about the crap about the place.

I’ve so far gone through my clothes (twice – last time round, I chucked a skirt that I’ve been glaring at every time I look at it, and a frock that I really loved the fabric – but hated every single other aspect of it from the cut onward (it was a fat chick size, and while I am actually a fat chick, I’m not  standard fat chick shaped. Particularly in the arm department.) I kept a few things that may not make the cut next round –  specifically, I still have five items that do not spark anything remotely resembling  joy taking up valuable space in my wardrobe – however, if I discard them now, I will have no winter work pants, no winter coat and only one winter skirt. I live in Victoria. It could be winter next Tuesday. No winter work clothes is not optimal. So, despite their lack of joy sparking, they be staying until I find some replacements. And seeing as I’ve been desperately seeking a new winter coat since um. The winter before last winter. I’m not holding my breath (although I am refusing to get the bloody thing dry cleaned on the off chance I find a new coat before it does get cold. Are you listening, cosmos?! Nice woollen coat, classic style, mid thigh length would be nice. Mid calf would be damn awesome) The work pants are another dire mission (big girls aren’t supposed to have long legs, apparently) – at least replacing my work skirts will be relatively easy.

I did also attack my books and culled ten boxes of books that are headed to the school fete and at the same time, discovered I sort of already keep my stuff in categories. Books are either in the book case, or in the cook book book case, or beside my bed because I am still reading them. I don’t think KM is much of a reader to be honest. She doesn’t get the simple joy that is books and their potential. Anyway, around 300 books gone and I only cleared out two shelves (out of 12) on a 2m x 3.5m book case. My books needed some culling.

I’ve had a crack at paper, too – now, I cannot conceive the idea of collecting every bit of paper in the entire house and looking at it all at once. It strikes me as a bit ridiculous, to be honest. I’d need to keep putting it away to do stuff like, you know, eat, live, fold the damn washing. Plus, family of four, kids who are one step away from an episode of Hoarders, and a couple of hobbies that are either paper based or have a fair bit of paper involved. However – as I do in fact keep shit in loose categories anyway, albeit all about the house, I’ve done the pull out and cull a couple of categories and chucked (you guessed it) copious paper already.

The Paper categories I have are:

  1. Need it now – lives on the fridge, gets gone through whenever I notice something is no longer relevant
  2. Action stuff – bills that are to be paid, or need filing or whatever, miscellaneous stuff I need to do something with. I should deal with this more regularly. It takes fuck all to go through, but I just get swamped by the idea of it. Ok, I pay bills once a week – I’m not completely silly!
  3. Keep for a while but not for ever – warranties and receipts, etc. Old bills, that sort of thing (I keep bills/statements for two years because that’s as far back as I’ve ever needed to go check something) Quite frankly, I prefer a paper instruction book. It’s nigh impossible to print the fuckers out, and hey have you tried to balance a laptop on the stove while you work out how to change the light globe in the range hood? Much easier with the instruction book on top of the coffee machine. This is an annual job. Did it in January (see, I have always had a small, cranky Japanese lady inside me!)
  4. Keep for ever –  important stuff like birth certificates, passports etc. You can’t chuck them

I’ve ‘done’ one and two completely, and did #3 in January. I probably should get into the filing cabinet – but that might have to wait until I can sit on the floor without stressing about how on earth I’m going to get up!

I keep having little dips into other categories in a fairly half arsed and scatty fashion (scatty-gories, get it. I’m here all night) and I am continually surprised about what I can throw out – like that bottle of body wash that smelled weird and stung like a mofo when it came into contact with more delicate regions, half a bottle of hand sanitiser that nobody uses, all the miniatures I’ve acquired from hotels over the years, gone. That was another garbage bag of crap.

Basically, I’ve been eyeing off areas of my house (ZOMG, MAUDY. YOU DOING IT WRONG! Categories not rooms. Eh, shaddup.), and diving into what shits me the most, and when I have the time – combo Fly-Mari here, although I consider an hour a suitable amount of time to do a wee tidy mission, rather than 15 minutes. My laundry is shitting me at the moment. I think it’s days in its current state are severely numbered.

Essentially, I think the main message I’ve taken from both books is “hey, it’s ok to get rid of shit you don’t like or want” and just because someone you love gave it to you, you don’t have to keep it.  But the thing is, you don’t *have* to do all the things in the book to end up with a less cluttered life. I have a lot of stuff I like a lot that I don’t want to get rid of, but if I get rid of some of (if not all) the crap like clothes I hate, appliances that don’t work, books I can live without, that sort of thing, I will have somewhere to keep the stuff I do love. Which is most of my stuff really! But hey, work in progress right? And if the manly wardrobes can stay more or less tidy for six months without much intervention from me, I am so far ahead even if I go no further.

Do or do not. Tidy or don’t. Don’t whinge about it. Keep it if you love it, chuck it if you don’t. And keep your damn screwdrivers. And (I totes stole this from somewhere else, but it’s awesome) if you can’t decide whether something is useful and should be kept or not – if you can replace it in 20 minutes for less than $20, chuck the fucking thing out.

Miss Maudy v KonMari

When I was reading Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I came to a very strange realisation – the fundamental philosophy behind tidying KonMari style was the basic philosophy I utilised when I renovated my kitchen. Now, that was an epic epic job – the entire kitchen was being gutted to empty shell, and not only that, while the new kitchen was going to have more space, it was going to have less storage. When we first moved into this house, I was pregnant (and a little bit cray cray) and we were moving the contents of two kitchens worth of stuff into one. Shit got shoved in cupboards, never to be seen again until the day we did the giant clean out. Anyway, with assistance from mum, we pulled every single thing out of every single cupboard and every single item was handled by me and a decision made about whether it should stay or go – first run through, I probably got rid of 40% of the crap in the kitchen – most of which ended at the op shop, some at mum’s place. Fast forward two weeks and I’m ready to move everything back in, and I revisited each item again and got rid of another third of what was left. Every single thing left in the kitchen has a purpose and a place, including the Kitchen Witch (ye olde Scandinavian or even ye olderer European tradition – I’ve had her for years, and she lives in the cupboard).

Two years later… seriously, the damn kitchen is the easiest room in the house to clean because it NEVER gets untidy. Ok, occasionally there’s crap all over the bench, but it goes away really quickly to where it belongs. In two years, the sum total of ‘tidying’ I’ve done in the kitchen is sorting the pantry every six months, and  occasionally tidying the plastics drawer. That’s it. One room in my house is always tidy and almost always clean. (Ok, two – our bathroom is so minimalist anyway, that it stays tidy by default. I probably spend twenty minutes a year in there, tidying up and that’s when I go through the medicine cabinet to chuck out of date shit). And therein lies the proof in the slightly underdone puddin’. Getting rid of most of your crap means it’s easier to keep the rest of it under submission. In fact, it almost does it by itself. Who. Would. Have Thought.

It appears I have test-KonMaried a room and it worked.

Now, I know declutter THEN clean is the underlying message of the Flylady, however, KonMari is more flat out like a lizard drinking go at the decluttering ’til your head explodes or it’s done; and Flylady is pissing around, picking at the edges for 15 minutes at a time. I’m more of a boots and all type, so yeah. Singing my song. Loudly, albeit slightly out of tune.

Before I bit the bullet and read the book, I’d already gone through my clothes and culled three or four bags of clothes and shoes. After I read the clothes section though, I went through them again and whadderyou know – there was a whole bundle of stuff that barely sparked ‘meh’ so out they went. When I was a callow yoof, I used to drive my mum insane (it’s in my contract, I still do) because, while I was a scatty, lazy teenager (and a scatty lazy twenty something and maybe thirty something, if I am completely being honest here) with a propensity to fling shit from one end of the house to the other, and store things in precarious piles, my wardrobe was always immaculate. Shirts hung in sleeve lengths and colour coordinated and everything. So, when Ms Kondo was talking about how to organise and how to hang your stuff once you’d culled it – man, I was humming her tune. I rearranged three t-shirts in the drawer, pulled out two more for the ‘meh’ pile and I could feel the damn joy in that drawer. It was singing. Weird, hey.

The wardrobe – I realised that some of my skirts would rather be hung by the waist than over a hanger, and I got rid of *another* bag of stuff from one tiny section of my wardrobe that I’d already been through twice before. I do have a wee selection of clothes that I do like but I don’t fit into – BUT as I am losing weight, albeit slowly, they can stay until a) they fit or b) I change my mind. This includes a truly gorgeous frock that I adore (it sparks lerve, baby) BUT the fucker is a wee bit tight across my bum and across my bosom (which became formidable). If I don’t lose enough weight to fit in it without feeling like Jessica fucking Rabbit, I will sell it at the end of the year.So there. Said it in public. That means I have to, doesn’t it!?

I’m not one for a heap of accessories – I wear the same pieces of jewellery every day, I use the same handbag every day, and the odd bits and bobs of jewellery I have that I don’t wear all the time, I still like so it’s all stayed; I ditched a couple of unsuccessful handbags and that was that bit done. Our room is still a work in progress, I have the entire top shelf of my side of the wardrobe to go – there’s a LOAD of crap up there, but it all belongs to non-clothing related categories, so it can wait for the time being or until the siren call of that damn shelf becomes too hard to resist.

All my books are in one place (ok, two places. Cook books are in the dining room, and I went through them at the same time as the kitchen. Everything else is in a 2m by 3m book case. I’m onto the book case at the moment – this is epic. The Knee will not allow me to kneel, and it’s too fucking hard to stand up from ground level without using my knees at any point. So, I’ve dragged in a bench from outside, and I’m sorting fiction into the boxes. Non-fiction can wait until I can kneel!  Now, I’m not looking for books to spark joy, because quite frankly, ALL books spark joy. I’m using a much more pragmatic sense – “Do I love this author enough to buy their books in paper?” and “Am I ever going to read this again?” Nope goes in a box, yep and maybe goes back on the shelf for now. I figure when I go through what’s left on the shelf, a few more will end up in a box. So far, six boxes and 190 books are heading to the school fete in a couple of months. Wins all round.

 

It’s the Fly-Way or um. My way.

Ok, last time I posted, I wasn’t sure if my half-arsed success with Flylady was down to not having kids at home for half the week every week in January, or whether progress was actually being made toward my year of getting shit done and no longer living in a cesspit. Ok, it’s not that bad – there’s no pools of raw sewage dotted around the joint. But this last couple of weeks, I’ve been living in chaos. I’m talking *actual* chaos, as distinct from the Fly-definition of chaos which is “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome” – people could come over, 85% chance of a chair, just there was just a  fair chance I’d gibber at them.

So yeah, still not sure whether I’m having any success with the Flying palaver – last week’s Zone was the entrance and dining room. Now, the entrance to my house consists of an area rug and a box of shoes behind the door. I’ve been looking for a nice console table for oh, thirteen years. Or a nice cupboard to keep shoes in. But it takes a whole thirty seconds to put into order. Mainly by picking up the shoes next to the box and putting them back in!

The Dining Room has been a designated No-Fly Zone for the last month with Reg using it to run his bit of an epic event he’s been involved with for the last six months. Said event was last weekend, and he’s pinky promised that will be his last one for a couple of years. Of course, come August, he’ll most likely get suckered back into the vortex again. I will not be well pleased if this happens.

So we’ve had stuff and that left, right and centre culminating in us being out of the house for the vast majority of the last two weekends – Yay for having a social life but bloody hell, I actually do a lot of shit on the weekends. And when I’m not home to do it – that leads to delegating a metric fuckload of stuff to the week. That same week where I work every day and get home at six and attempt to cook a nutritious and delicious meal for the family from my carefully constructed meal plan and spend some time on my delightful craft work. Ahem. We’re drifting off into Fantasy Land territory. You’ve seen what my meal planning looks like. And we all know when I’m tired, it’s Candy Crush all the way.

I digress. As always. Anyways, I did take on board the Flylady do a load of washing a day thang last week. Can I just say I have NEVER had so many odd socks in my entire life. Ever. Normally, I have three odd socks, never the same three so I just chuck them back in and they meet their pair (or similar. I am not a sock purist. As an aside – in the early days of our relationship, Mrs Reg very helpfully suggested that I pop a wee bit of coloured cotton on each pair Reg’s virtually identical socks so I knew which ones belonged together. After I collected myself from the floor and ceased the very literal rolling about laughing, I told her that Reg was suitably grateful he got two socks of roughly the same length more or less folded and put in his sock drawer. If we have two more or less the same socks – eh, they a pair). I was heading for the same this week as well, however, Mayhem was poorly yesterday morning so I stayed home and did the fucking washing instead. And did the really have to do this or the world as we know it will in fact come to an end type stuff (like planning and bill paying and minimalist food shopping.)

As you can probably imagine, last week’s meal planning didn’t so much involve planning as pinning someone to the ground with a firmly placed knee to discover approximate locations and meal requirements for the week, so at least the kids were fed. Throw in kids being back at school and sport starting again, and I just threw my hands in the air and hoped for the best.

Dieting has gone a bit to the shitter as well, however on the positive side, I still weigh less than I did when I started. I’m back to calorie counting and exercising again from tomorrow (chiro treatment last night means the back v knee battle is loud and proud –  if the back is great, the knee hurts like hell and vice versa. By the way,  while my knee is better than it was, it was six months on Friday and it’s NOT BETTER YET. Apparently cumulative injuries have cumulative recovery periods, and it will be another three months. And drugs. Drugs are good, m’kay. And yes it was the sore knee firmly placed on Reg’s chest whilst determining his movements for the week. Mistake.) I’m planning to slip in a massage later on in the week to sort out the excesses of the weekend. Bit too much waterslides and driving in circles for one weekend.

Anyway, this week’s meal planning (such as it is) is straight from the freezer – determined by what’s on top. Last night, we had lasagne. Tonight, crumbed chicken and vegies and tomorrow night will be (insert fanfare whilst I quickly get some meat out of the freezer) something to do with mince and a bone for the doggie. I’m thinking potato pie, and the kids can suck it up. Looking forward to Thursday – I see bacon and eggs in our eating futures, and Friday is possibly going to involve more dog bones. I may have to dig more deeply.

I’m planning to give the Flylady a half arsed crack for the next four weeks, and see what happens – using my Zones rather than hers because seriously, I can’t wait another month to sort out the damn dining room!

Back to Basics with the Flylady

I may have mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was contemplating giving Flylady a red hot go again –  so I have spent the last three weeks contemplating a variety of questions.

  1. I have never managed to stick at Flylady for longer than 6-8 weeks at a time in the past.
  2. I have had at least four five or six goes at Flylady over the last ten years with little or no success.
  3. I crack the shits within a week at the sheer volume of emails that come through. Do I seriously think I will find it easier to ignore 24 Farcebook posts in a single day?
  4. I find the website revolting to manoeuvre and can never find what I am looking for.
  5. I find the schmaltz to be completely nauseating
  6. I keep coming back.

It’s so damn condescending and twee and annoying and I keep coming back like some demented teenager with a feral ex-boyfriend (I know I can change, I know I can make it work this time). I’ve dated other organisational experts and had the same result – I’m fired up with enthusiasm and wander off at the first sign of failure.

(Well, except for UnFuck Your Habitat –  I like their evening routine, I think 20/10 is a much better working time frame, and hey, looking at pictures of other people’s Habitats is inspiration for me to get off my arse and do some unfucking of my own. Also swears instead of butterflies and fucking rainbows, and the app is a dollar. But it still doesn’t quite make the grade for general day to day living. Also, Kon Mari for decluttering).

So why haven’t I ever managed to stick at the Flylady before? And what makes me think I’ve got Buckleys of having it stick this time?

I think part of it has been my circumstances at the time. When I first delved into Flylady, it was circa 2005 , I had a toddler, I was studying and working part time, Reg was working shift work (get up and make your bed is tricky when there’s still someone in it); and I just couldn’t quite ever get through the Baby Steps. (Digital clutter is so clutter and you don’t need to buy special purple things to do housework with. Pfft.) I think the next time, I was still working part time, had a kid in primary school and a toddler. I sort of skipped the baby steps because they just irritated me and attempted to move onto the Zone cleaning. Yeah, nah.

The other thing is that her faith plays a big part in the life of the Flylady, and whilst the message is relatively gentle, it’s still very much there as the basis of everything she says and does. There’s nowt wrong with that at all, if that makes her happy, so be it. However, I think I am best described as a bit of a heathen. All this talk about blessing this and blessing that – Pfft. And housework that’s badly done is housework that needs doing properly later. So, maybe I’m a perfectionist? And that’s why Flylady doesn’t seem to work for me. The millisecond something doesn’t work, or she’s too happy clappy, or flogs a product – ZOOOOOOOM. Can’t see me for dust. Of which there is plenty at my house. Any excuse and I am gone.

The next couple of times I had a go at it, I was working full time. Flylady and full time employment are not compatible in the slightest. And when you throw small children and after school activities into the mix, it gets even less compatible. I like the idea of it, I like the structure of it, but the reality? Um. Nope. Not even close. About a year ago, I looked at the last bit of Baby Steps and I was more or less there, so I moved along (yay, nine years to implement 31 days of a program)

So, what’s changed? I’m still working full time, and Reg is now working Monday to Friday like a normal person, I still have two children and I still have to juggle after school activities. What makes me think this is going to work this time?

As a bit of a laugh, I have been doing the Missions in each of the Zones for the last three weeks and um. Despite my efforts being decidedly half arsed and the Missions being subject to much internal derision (nothing says I loves youse all like a fresh supply of toilet paper and clean jocks)… My house is slightly but noticeably tidier and slightly but noticeably cleaner and more organised.

I also had an epiphany of sorts.

Every other time I had a crack at the Flylady, I was attempting to shove my motley collection of rhomboid shapes into her perfectly round and organised circular holes. I didn’t fit, so I left. This time, I am treating it differently. I am NOT treating it as the Master Plan for my life, because we all know how well that turned out. I’m skipping the Baby Steps because I think I’ve actually passed that stage. I’ve gone through her lists for each room and bodged together a list of extra things the cleaner doesn’t do for each room. I’ve divided my house into Zones that make sense for me – only four, though. The odd days are designated catch up on what I didn’t do earlier in the month. And I will do the Daily Missions in as half-arsed a fashion that I choose.

I will see how things turn out in another month. It will be an interesting journey. I am not sure if it was the half-arsed flying or if the confounding effects of working four days a week and having no kids for three days are actually what made the difference. Welcome aboard. This will either be an interesting tale of how I finally beat Flylady’s system into my life, or I will wander off in search of something else in about a month because, hey turns out it was the short week and lack of kids.